I have been sitting on this book, waiting for the right time to post my book review and after seeing the extravagance my people exercise during prom season, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to reign some folks back into reality.
Stuntin’ on social media is not what’s hot. Real rap. My vernacular may be dated, so let me say this another way. Renting, borrowing, leasing, pretending and spending money you don’t have to take photographs of material possessions that you can’t afford to impress other people, hoping to go viral on the internet for 4 seconds of “fame” is not wisdom. Flat out.
Allow me to give you a disclaimer: I have been a self-sufficiency program facilitator for 6 years. I advocate for entrepreneurship and against poverty, assisting individuals as they acquire resources on their path towards building wealth. Before I became a facilitator, I was a program participant… living 120% below the poverty line, in college as an adult learner, working two part-time jobs and three – yes – 3 internships, with a child at home (or in class with me).
I personally know about being broke and broken, chasing the American dream that begins with a college education. I finally got my BA in Corporate Communication (yay, me) in 2014 and it cost: Blood. Sweat. Tears. And. Money. I may not be a millennial but I paid millennial college tuition so I feel their/y’all’s plight.
What I see coming behind the millennials are lot of young people (individuals in high school, born after 1998) whose mindsets are on being rich, but not being wealthy. So let me spell it out for them if no one put them on to game – Wealthy is quiet; Rich is loud; Broke is flashy.
Now I know,
Someone is going to say it’s iight for young people to go all out for special occasions; they are young; let them have fun. And guess what? I am here for it. I’m here for the youth enjoying themselves. No hate! Word. But I am also thinking about my future being that it is in the hands of the same youth – your children and my child, and I need them to realize they will be old a lot longer than they will be young.
Call me selfish, but I need these young people to get a grip. They are our future politicians, judges, physicians, artisans, activists, story tellers and community leaders but today they are talking about Molly and Percocet, renting luxury cars and jets (yes, a jet) for one night - PROM.
Regardless of the influence (familial, societal, pop culture, etc.), this mindset is irresponsible and unrealistic as they transition (prayerfully) to institutions of higher learning and eventually ADULTHOOD, period.
For a basic introduction to a proactive approach to personal finance, I highly recommend 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money by Shay Olivarria. This book is a quick, yet insightful read, covering:
Attitudes Towards Money
Stocks, Bonds, & Mutual Funds
Retirement Accounts and...
Avoiding Student Loan Default
Shay has been quoted on Bankrate.com, Fox Business.com, NBC Latino, Student Loan Hero, and The Credit Union Times, among others. Her book, 10 Things… is passionately written to encourage our children to think beyond what is going to look good on the Gram today compared to establishing financial goals that yield satisfying results far beyond tomorrow. What I like about Shay is she doesn’t tell you not to treat yourself and she doesn’t judge you for wanting luxury things. Shay is simply asking you, “how you gon’ pay for it” and she gives young people the answer by telling them to pay themselves first.
Each chapter is 2-5 pages long, filled with real life examples of how to grow money over time with patience by assessing spending habits with the money you currently have. Shay reminds us of the rich and famous who have gone broke because they didn’t manage what they already had while others with a lot less put their children and sometimes grandchildren through college, owned homes and gave to charity by being frugal, planning their spending and preparing for retirement.
10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money also has a resource section, a
glossary of financial terms, as well as a bonus job-readiness section. This final section of the book has a resume template, emphasis on appropriate workplace attire, and “sponsor” suggestions when you need career advice, references and recommendations. Each chapter ends with tips to recap the information that was covered, encouraging the reading to consider their knowledge of wealth. Trust me, this book is a wealth of knowledge.
We collectively must do better by our children for their sake and ours. Proms are the few times we get to see our children in formal suits and gowns, embracing the fact that our babies aren’t babies anymore. They are young adults and if we are going to dress them as such, we also need to teach them the cost of being an adult. It’s not a punishment to live within your means! What is punishment is robbing Peter to pay Paul to finance the Prom. Adults set impractical examples of prioritizing looking rich instead of preparing to be rich.
If you think this book is for the young person in your life, visit Shay Olivarria’s website BiggerThanYourBlock.com for additional resources and to book her for a speaking engagement. Don’t forget to follow her on Facebook and Twitter too!
What is the most important piece of advice you received about money before going to college? I want to hear from you, leave me a comment below.